'CSI' exclusive: Time to meet Gil's long lost mom!

CSI-Peteresen-Gil-momImage Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS; Inset: Andrew Kent/Getty ImageGet ready for the mother of all CSI episodes, because we’re about to meet Gil Grissom’s long lost mother! EW has learned exclusively that Tony award-winning actress Phyllis Frelich will play the role of Mrs. Grissom — and go head-to-head with the new Mrs. Grissom — in an episode tentatively scheduled to air Feb. 3.

Here are the details: A murder occurs at a school for the deaf where Grissom’s mom is a professor. Sara (Jorja Fox) goes to investigate but ends up facing an unexpected challenge — a surprising lack of affection from her mother-in-law. Apparently, Grissom’s mom never felt that Sara was the one for her beloved Gil so the two women have a few fences to mend. The episode also stars Oscar winner Marlee Matlin as a school colleague who not only serves as Mrs. Grissom’s protege but used to date Gil. Guess who momma Grissom prefers?

Sadly, William Petersen won’t appear in the episode. (Fans are supposed to think that Gil is contantly on the move so he and Sara maintain a long-distance relationship.) But the story is a continuation of an arc that started way back in season one’s memorable “Sound of Silence” episode, in which we first learn that our hero can sign because he grew up with a deaf mother.

Frelich, who is deaf, won a Tony Award for her work in the 1980 Broadway production of Children of a Lesser God — the play that inspired the movie of the same name that starred Matlin, who won an Oscar for her role. Frelich has also appeared in numerous TV shows, including ER, Diagnosis: Murder and L.A. Law.

Comments (63 total) Add your comment
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  • Shane

    Oh, Grissom. We miss you.

    • chattypatra

      Tell me about it! The show hasn’t been the same since Petersen left and I do wish he’d make an appearance. Pretty please?

    • BJohnson

      I know I got all excited thinking maybe a cameo.

    • carolae

      Ditto…..somehow the show was never the same when he left; however, we still watch it and continue to hope that one day, he will grace the screen again with his presence. I believe he left to do a play and perhaps when that is over, he will return.

    • hirolla74

      I haven’t watched CSI ever since Grissom left and Morpheus(Larry Fishburne) arrived. I watched a few with Fishburne but it wasn’t the same. I miss Grissom. And Warrick. At least Warrick died somewhat heroically??

  • Amanda

    I feel so bad for Sara. Her real mom was skitsophranic (or how ever you spell it) and her mother in law hates her. I think Sara is probably gonna break down in this one, atleast once. But I think someone is going to talk to her and she’s gonna get back up on her feet.

    • Doris


      • Amanda

        Haha whatever.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Wow….I’ve read probably thousands of CSI fanfics and in exactly 0 of them did Grissom’s mom hate Sara….there are going to be some pretty ticked off GSR fans….

  • ALS

    I think that Sara doesn’t give a Rats rear end whether Mommy-in-Law likes her or not; she’s married to the love of her life and MiL can just get use to it. Now it’s the ex that I’m curious about; what made Gilbert walk away.

    • Marsha

      Probably because who can stand Marlee Matlin?

      • lois

        Hey Marsha,,that was mean. Marlee Matlin opened a lot of doors for the Deaf. If you do no tlike her, OK, but she deserves respect for all she did for the Deaf. Don’t you think?

  • kathy

    Great – I am not the only won who doesn’t like the character of Sara!! Why CBS ever gave her a second chance after the contract dispute is beyond me. The girl CANNOT act her way out of a paper bag and CSI producers should really ax her character.

    • MCS

      They pretty much had no original characters left, thats why they took her

      • hds

        Uh, what? Sara’s pretty much the only original left… except for Nick, or Catherine, or Brass, or Greg (who has been there since the pilot), or Doc Robbins (who has been there since episode 6).

        What was your point again? That you hate Sara so much your memory fails you?

      • MCS

        Umm, no actually. My point is that Nick, Catherine, Sara and Brass are the only original main cast members left that started as main cast. The rest have been promoted after others dropped off.
        What was your point again? That you hate life so much you have to attack people on comment boards?

      • MCS

        For the record also, Sara is my favorite character apart from Nick.

      • Juan

        WPAP do have you got any word why that video has been deleted, that is a bit fishy to me as to why they woduln’t want to promote him briefly being in an episode and I’ve never seen a CTV promo yanked. Im guessing it has something to do will Billy being in the episode, and considering that CBS didn’t bother to put that in their video for the US leads me to believe that we were not supposed to see that yet.Any clue?

    • mindy

      Funny, I’ve thought recently that Jorja Fox is the only one still on the show that has range. They don’t use her to her potential all the time, but she can act.

      • hds

        I think her biggest problem isn’t the acting, but the way they wrote her character into a very, VERY depressing box with no way out except to quit. That’s the writer’s fault, not Jorja Fox’s. Sara’s been much more enjoyable after her return this time because she’s lightened up. Although I do agree it would be nice to see Grissom again, and this episode would have made perfect sense. Too bad.

    • BJ

      No, Kathy, you’re not the only one who doesn’t like Sara. I don’t. My nephew notes that Sara Sidle sounds like suicidal. Don’t like her never have. Think Gil belonged w/ Lady Heather. Sara’s too…I don’t know….heavy (not weight…personality). No life, no spice. Too much like Gil himself. Nope….he belongs w/ Lady Heather. Really kind of even got out of the show when they put Gil & Sara together because it kind of grossed me out!

  • carol chauncey

    I’m very happy the powers that be understand that even a little absentee Grissom is better than none at all.

    • jana

      I agree!

  • Melanie

    WHENNN are we ever gonna see grissom again?!?! gosh i miss him!! i need some gsr on the screen soon!

  • jenna

    This is awesome news! I also read that Marlee Matlin is in this, so maybe she plays the ‘ex’. Great casting all around. Can’t wait to see Sara go head-to-head with her mother-in-law!

    • loumom

      Umm yeah-it says right there above that she plays his ex. And I have to say I agree with Grissom’s mom. The Grissom/Sara storyline was the worst idea ever. Ever.

      • Abby

        Seconded! Biggest downfall of the show.

      • jenna

        mea culpa! it was late when I posted and I didn’t read the whole article.
        So, I’ll say it again, great casting!
        And will add, I absolutely loved the Grissom and Sara storyline.

  • DP

    Oh, thank you TV gods for bestowing this goodness on us just in time for Febuary sweeps! I don’t think fans of the GSR will be annoyed at all! I’d never presume that Mrs. Grissom would like Sara. Maybe it was the friction with the deaf school teacher back in Sound of Silence, but part of the reason Sara appeals to a lot of people is because she’s not a stereotype or refined and isn’t likely to impress her mother-in-law with her decor or clothes or countenance. I guess I always assume all TV MILs are going to be evil hussies. It’s like fiction law.

  • Lita B.

    This deaf drama;I suggested,in 2nd year of CSI. To show CSI;
    can teach viewers about Deafness.
    We Love CSI; it can be about death,or about deafness..
    I suggested to Billy Petersen;
    that the fans know the show,
    teach them about Deafness,etc.
    I was in shock; I am living
    with my deafness, the older I
    get,the more deafness happens.
    This is My Baby; Billy & Staff,
    are working it with Great Warmth Sensitivity.Thank You to All of
    You ….

  • tommy

    LOL. I’m not so sure Sara’s mom would appreciate Gil either! Both characters are fiercely independent and outside the social norms; that’s why we love them together.
    Can’t wait to see this!

  • MCS

    Does it count as an arc if it was a one off 10 years ago?

    • DP

      Sure. A really wide arc. An arc only needs two points, after all…

  • Sue1

    I’m with Mom on this. I personally never sensed an iota of chemistry between Grissom and Sara, and I could never understand why SHE would be the one to return when her unhappiness with the job was such a big part of her character. They got rid of characters and short-changed other regulars but unnecessarily brought her back.

  • Meghan

    Love her or hate her, Jorja/Sara inspires a lot of feedback. Jorja has really high Q ratings. She’s a familiar face after the departure of other regulars. She bridges a gap for an audience that still misses Grissom. She’s very good at emoting on a cast where the ability to emote well isn’t really that widespread. At one point, her fans sent up PLANES to get CBS’ attention. There are a few reasons to keep her around.

  • tvfruitcake

    I never missed an episode until Sara and Grissom left. I watched exactly one show with the new guy and quit the show. I didn’t know that Sara was back so maybe I’ll start up again. It would be great to bring back the original team as much as possible w/o Warrick. I always thought those three were the meat in the sandwich. Don’t get me wrong about Catherine and Nick. They are great but kinda flat. The others, including Brass to a lesser degree, were multi-layered. I need a fully developed character to get behind. Maybe that is just me.

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